Static-X - Cannibal
Reprise Records
Industrial Metal
12 songs (37:09)
Release year: 2007
Static-X, Reprise Records
Reviewed by Goat

Despite Platinum-level success with debut album Wisconsin Death Trip, Static-X never really made it like their peers in the Nu Metal scene. To many, they were nothing more than a copy of Fear Factory (‘with funny hair’ as one journalist snidely put it at the time) yet they had an altogether different style, basing their music around dance structures (the band’s self-description of ‘evil disco’ sums it up best) rather than the Death/Groove Metal that Fear Factory built upon. Of course, to this day Static-X frontman Wayne Static does have very funny hair, not to mention Tony Campos’ ‘midget Kerry King’ look and the fact that (now ex-) guitarist Tripp Eisen (formerly of rubbish Nu/Industrial Metallers Dope) was arrested in 2005 for having sex with minors – it’s easy to make fun of Static-X.

Give latest album Cannibal a listen, however, and you’ll notice that despite the lack of anything really new, a real attempt has been made to bring the band into more typical Metallic territory. All but one of the songs here have a guitar solo, and they’re pretty good to boot, placed to avoid traditional Metal structures yet fitting in perfectly. There’s a Thrashyness to the likes of No Submission and Chemical Logic that was never there in the band’s sound before, and whilst guitars are still often used for their heaviness more than anything else, there’s no denying the riffs used are much better than before. This is Metal, without a doubt, and whilst the techno elements are pretty strong on tracks like Behemoth, the influence from recent Ministry is much stronger, giving Cannibal quite a punch.

As you’ve probably guessed from peeking ahead at the score, however, there is a colossal ‘HOWEVER!’ coming up, and that is Wayne Static’s vocals. When he’s not doing his Jonathan Davis impersonation, he engages in some incredibly annoying screechy yells that are much worse than I remembered from the last time I gave the band a chance (2005’s Start A War, very poor). If you grit your teeth and persist you’ll get used to them, but most will throw their hands up in horror and leave well alone, and it’s hard to argue that they’re missing anything by doing so. The Metallic side of Industrial music is incredibly incestuous, and to be honest if you’ve heard recent Ministry, Jesu, and Red Harvest then you’ve heard the cream of the crop.

Static-X were never breakers of the mould, and whilst some of the songs here are genuinely catchy and enjoyable - enough to be worth buying the album for, even - others aren’t, and it’s about an even mix. The shortness of the songs doesn’t help; there’s not a single track four minutes or over, and as a result the band relies far too much on the hooks grabbing you when a bit of complexity in the songwriting would have worked wonders.

Credit where it’s due, however, Static-X has definitely gotten better and has now surpassed recent Korn (rubbish, not worth the time wasted on a review) in the ‘Nu-Metal survivor’ stakes, although they’re still a long way from Slipknot and Deftones’ position at the head of the table. Overall, if you’re looking for some songs that are short and danceable yet acceptably Metallic, then Cannibal is worth a try. The rest of us are better off waiting until Wayne learns to growl and write longer songs.

MySpace
Killing Songs :
Cannibal, No Submission, Chemical Logic, Destroyer, Chroma-Matic
Goat quoted 60 / 100
Other albums by Static-X that we have reviewed:
Static-X - Cult Of Static reviewed by Goat and quoted 35 / 100
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